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PwC appoints Ron Chopoorian as Global Leader, Health Industries

PwC has appointed Ron Chopoorian (PwC United States) as the Global Leader of its Health Industries practice. Ron has extensive client experience and deep industry knowledge across health industries, including payer, provider and pharmaceutical and life sciences. He brings more than 24 years of experience assisting private equity and corporate clients with a broad range of mission critical strategic initiatives, including improving business and commercial strategy, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures focused on improving shareholder value.

In his new role, Chopoorian will lead the Global Health Industries team, which advises a large network of clients in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, as well as policymakers on a range of key areas including advanced data analytics, integrated patient experience, digital transformation in healthcare, social determinants of health, precision medicine, assurance, tax and legal services, and strategy. He will also continue his role as the Global Relationship Partner for one of the world’s largest multinational pharmaceutical companies.

“I’m excited to take on the role of Global Health Industries Leader during a time when clients, policymakers and society face profound changes, challenges and opportunities,” says Chopoorian. “The COVID-19 pandemic serves as a reminder of how PwC’s purpose – to build trust in society and solve important problems – guides our work with health industries stakeholders. By bringing our capabilities together, we have a unique opportunity to connect payers, providers, pharma and policy makers in order to address common challenges across the health ecosystem. We can provide solutions that make a real impact in delivering the best outcomes for patients, communities and clients.”

Kevin Burrowes, PwC’s Global Clients and Industries Leader, says “The opportunities and challenges facing our clients are unparalleled. In collaboration with other industries, our Health Industries practice, under Ron’s leadership, will continue to help governments and organisations repair, rethink and reconfigure their business models to emerge stronger from the crisis.”

Chopoorian previously was the New York Metro Deals Leader and has launched and served as the national leader of the PwC United States Divestiture Services practice. He also co-led the “Digitising Deals” initiative to enhance value creation and customer experience through the use and deployment of technology in the M&A process. During his career with PwC, he has advised various multinational pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies on a number of strategic and operational issues, from digital enablement and transformation to business and financial due diligence.

Chopoorian earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Business Administration from Manchester Business School. Ron is also a CPA and a member of both the AICPA and the New York State Society of CPAs.

Celebrating five consecutive years as one of BC’s Top Employers

Dentons has been recognised as one of BC’s Top Employers for the fifth consecutive year, reinforcing its status as an employer of choice for exceptional talent. Dentons is proud to have created an environment where its people can develop new skills, create a unique career path, explore and be supported in leadership opportunities, and collaborate with team members across its global platform, in addition to having a positive impact in local communities.

BC’s Top Employers is an annual competition organised by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognises British Columbia employers who lead their industries in offering outstanding places to work.

“Being recognised as one of BC’s Top Employers for five consecutive years is a huge accomplishment. Our continued success is a result of the commitment, enthusiasm and support for each of our team members,” said John Sandrelli, managing partner of Dentons’ Vancouver office. “We are proud to celebrate 40 years of being a part of the Vancouver community. Providing exceptional client service, taking action to improve our communities and supporting the success of both global clients and local businesses is what makes Dentons a great place to grow a career.”

The focus on its people is just one of the ways that Dentons is doing things differently. The diverse and unique strengths of Dentons’ exceptional talent help define its forward-thinking and inclusive culture. Here are some of the ways Dentons has come together to build the law firm of the future in Vancouver:

  • Participate in a number of activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, including the Rotary Club of Vancouver Bike-A-Thon, Ride to Conquer Cancer, Lawn Bowling, the annual Sun Run and a Healthy Habits Walking Club.
  • Help lead the fight for justice, opportunity and equality in our communities through pro bono and philanthropic commitments, including a week-long campaign in support of the United Way of the Lower Mainland, and pro bono services to the Vancouver Pride Society, assisting with the transition of their annual Pride Parade to VanVirtualPride, an online week-long celebration due to COVID-19.
  • Take time to celebrate success and recognise accomplishments as one team through team celebrations, social events and barbeques.
  • Advance shared commitment of building an inclusive firm by developing diverse learning programs and community-focused initiatives, such as an Indigenous business student summer placement program in collaboration with a client.
  • Foster an eco-conscious environment that promotes wellness though sustainable practices in the workplace through its grassroots Workplace Improvement Sustainability and Health (WISH) Committee, like working with local restaurants to enable Dentons’ people to use reusable containers in lieu of using paper, Styrofoam or plastic to-go lunch boxes.

To learn more about our Vancouver office, career opportunities and how we are connecting BC to the world, visit our Dentons – Vancouver page.

Health and social care to gain the most from 5G efficiency gains

Productivity and efficiency gains enabled by 5G’s application will drive business, skills and service change worth US$1.3 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

In Powering Your Tomorrow, PwC quantifies for the first time, the economic impact of new and existing uses of 5G in utilities, health and social care, consumer, media, and financial services across eight economies with advanced rollout: Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, United States and the United Kingdom.

More than a faster version of mobile connectivity on 4G, 5G’s speed, reliability, reduced energy usage and massive connectivity will be transformative for businesses and wider society, enabling ubiquitous access to super fast broadband. Used in combination with investments in artificial intelligence and the internet of things, 5G can be used as a platform to enable business and society to realise the full benefits of emerging technology advances.

Economic gains are projected across all economies assessed in the study, as 5G offers the potential to rethink business models, skills, products and services, with the gains accelerating beginning in 2025 as 5G-enabled applications become more widespread

Based on the study, the United States (US$484bn), China (US$220bn) and Japan (US$76bn) will experience the largest uplift as a result of 5G technology applications, due to the size of their economies and strong modern industrial production sectors.

At a regional level, Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) is expected to benefit the most from manufacturing applications of 5G, due to the size of the manufacturing sectors. It demonstrates the potential for regional competitive advantage through approaches to the adoption and regulation of the technology.

Wilson Chow, Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry Leader, PwC China, comments: “These numbers quantify impact, but perhaps more important, our study reflects the value of 5G – new levels of connectivity and collaboration mean companies will be able to see, do and achieve more. It will open up new opportunities for growth and change as organisations rethink and reconfigure the way they operate in the post-pandemic world.”

“With the pandemic accelerating digitalisation across all sectors, 5G will act as a further catalyst. It will emerge in this decade as a fundamental piece of our societal infrastructure and as a platform for driving the competitiveness of national economies, new business models, skills and industries.”

Achieving better, faster outcomes in health and social care

Over half the global economic impact (US$530bn) will be driven by the transformation of health and social care experience for patients, providers and medical staff within the next ten years.

While the acceleration of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic provided a glimpse of the future of healthcare, remote care is just one area in which 5G can enable both better health outcomes and cost savings.

5G’s applications include remote monitoring and consultations, real time in-hospital data sharing, improved doctor-patient communications and automation in hospitals to reduce health care costs.

Regional & Sector impacts

At a sector level, impacts vary for individual economies. The United States and Australia are projected to gain the most from financial services applications: India from smart utilities; China and Germany in manufacturing. Other industries analysed in the study show the significant potential of new and existing applications over the next decade, driving changes in skills, jobs, consumer products and regulation:

  • SMART utilities management applications will support environmental targets to reduce carbon and waste through enabling combined smart meters and grids to deliver energy savings, and improving waste and water management through tracking of waste and water leakage (US$330bn).
  • Consumer and media applications include: over the top gaming, real time advertising and customer services (US$254bn)
  • Manufacturing and heavy industry applications include: monitoring and reducing defects, increased autonomous vehicle use (US$134bn)
  • Financial services applications including reducing fraud and improving customer experiences (US$86bn)

Wilson Chow comments: “5G is more than mobile connectivity. It puts a new lens on advancing productivity and rethinking entire business models for the future. Given the scale of potential and its impacts, every organisation will need a plan for 5G’s implementation within five years across technology and business strategies to maximise opportunities and prepare for how they integrate their technology and business strategies, and engage with customers, supply chain and regulators.”

Policy & Trust

The study highlights that the reach of 5G’s technology potential will require businesses and government to consider new approaches to regulatory and consumer engagement – focusing on how the technology is used.

Wilson Chow comments: “With any technology, policy engagement, transparency and public trust are critical factors. Whether it’s considering the use of self driving vehicles or telemedicine, how data is managed, infrastructure deployed, or how different sectors collaborate, business and government need to shit from focusing on regulating a technology, to promoting transparency in 5G’s application, building and sustaining public trust in its use and potential.”

Regional city development remains broadly resilient

Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester have defied market challenges after delivering nearly 2.5 million sq ft of office space in 2020, a rise of over 547,000 sq ft more than 2019, according to Deloitte’s Regional Crane Survey.

The Crane Survey, which monitors construction activity across a range of sectors including offices, residential, hotels, retail, education and student housing, shows that a further 3.61 million sq ft of office space is currently under construction across the quartet of cities. Residential delivery increased nearly 67%, rising by 3,290 to 8,197 new homes completed in 2020. A further 18,912 residential properties are currently under development in the four cities.

The cities have delivered 5,405 student bed spaces in city centres, with a further 3,485 in development as universities and private student accommodation providers continue to invest in both teaching accommodation and student housing.

Simon Bedford, partner and regional head at Deloitte Real Estate, commented: “Regional office construction was strong in 2020, despite some delays in construction caused by lockdowns. The office pipeline has softened somewhat, as developers take a ‘wait and see’ approach to future demand.”

Deloitte’s research indicates the shift to home-working could change how businesses use office space in the future, which, in turn, could influence how local residential areas are used. This could potentially shape the role of neighbourhood set-ups to create more diversity within local centres.

Bedford said: “Our latest CFO survey showed that home-working is predicted to increase five-fold by 2025. The role of the office could flex to meet shifting demands for collaborative and creative space, as organisations revaluate their needs.

“Looking at residential, there’s a major focus for new developments to provide outdoor space and community facilities. This reflects a growing trend towards small-scale retail and leisure offerings as part of wider mixed-use developments, helping to create neighbourhoods and foster a sense of community. In turn, this could have a positive knock-on effect for the high street. For example, our future of the high street research suggests an increased focus on localism and a greater level of commitment to small independent businesses that can easily identify the origin of their goods. Therefore, all things considered, 2020 will be one of the stronger years in overall terms and points towards the ongoing renaissance of our major UK cities.”

Daniel Barlow, managing partner for regional markets at Deloitte, added: “There are real signs of recovery and resilience across the UK, and it’s incumbent on us all to maintain momentum to ensure that all cities, towns and villages level up.”

Eversheds Sutherland Earns a Perfect Score for Workplace Equality

Eversheds Sutherland is proud to announce that we have again received a perfect score of 100 on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the nation’s premier benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. This is the 12th consecutive year Eversheds Sutherland has received a perfect score.

“We are proud to have our commitment to equality validated again this year by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland. “Creating and maintaining a culture of inclusivity and equality is an ongoing priority for us and a cornerstone of our firm values.”

“From the previously unimaginable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to a long overdue reckoning with racial injustice, 2020 was an unprecedented year. Yet, many businesses across the nation stepped up and continued to prioritise and champion LGBTQ equality,” said Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President. “This year has shown us that tools like the CEI are crucial in the work to increase equity and inclusion in the workplace, but also that companies must breathe life into these policies and practices in real and tangible ways. Thank you to the companies that understand protecting their LGBTQ employees and consumers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do—but the best business decision.”

“Our firm values and policies demonstrate our commitment to equality to our attorneys, staff, clients and the legal industry, while building a workplace we can be all proud of,” said Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Tax Partner Vanessa A. Scott. “It is great to see this effort recognised once again.”

The 2021 CEI evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBTQ community. Eversheds Sutherland’s efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria results in a 100 percent ranking and the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

For more information on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit hrc.org.

About the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organisation working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Pandemic Slows China’s Global Deal Making in 2020

The global coronavirus pandemic has so far not triggered a Chinese buying spree of distressed assets but further slowed the pace of outbound acquisitions by Chinese companies in 2020.

According to Baker McKenzie’s 7th annual analysis of Chinese outbound investment trends, conducted in partnership with Rhodium Group, completed Chinese outbound M&A totalled just $29 billion in 2020, down almost half from $53 billion in 2019 and a record high of $139 billion in 2017. This is the lowest figure since 2008. Worldwide, only completed Chinese acquisitions in Latin America in 2020 kept pace with the previous year.

Adding greenfield investment to completed M&A, North America and Europe attracted a combined total of $15.2 billion of Chinese FDI. Completed investment in North America outpaced completed investment in Europe for the first time in five years, fuelled by the completion of several billion-dollar transactions. Investment in Europe was more fragmented and consisted of smaller transactions spread across geographies and industries.

All other regions of the world also saw declines in Chinese M&A activity in 2020 compared to 2019, except for Latin America where completion of a number of energy and utilities acquisitions announced in 2019 in Brazil, Chile, and Peru kept year-over-year activity flat compared to the previous year. Acquisitions in Asia fell by a third to $7.1 billion.

After the hurricane

China’s reintroduction of outbound investment controls, increasing regulatory scrutiny in many parts of the world over Chinese investment, geopolitical tensions, and the COVID-19 pandemic have all created headwinds for investment in recent years. But improving political and macroeconomic conditions seem likely to change this downward trend for Chinese investors in this year. The M&A pipeline remains low in early 2021 but China’s favourable macroeconomic conditions, a more predictable regulatory setup abroad and a less contentious geopolitical environment could help increase deal appetite and support a rebound in Chinese deal making globally, as well as continued growth in investment into China.

The drop in completed Chinese outbound M&A in 2020 stands in contrast to M&A flows in the other direction. Foreign M&A into China rebounded strongly in 2H 2020 and reached full-year levels similar to 2019. China’s relatively early and rapid recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 have made it an attractive target for foreign investors looking for near- and intermediate-term economic growth.

“We think 2020 is likely the low point for Chinese outbound investment if political and macroeconomic headwinds moderate,” said Michael DeFranco, global head of M&A at Baker McKenzie. “The commercial incentives for Chinese companies to invest in European and North America markets remain strong, and several variables – including higher sustained levels of investment by Western companies into China – are moving in a direction that is supportive of greater deal making in both directions in 2021.”

North America: investment edges up

In 2020, Chinese investors completed $7.7 billion worth of deals in the United States and Canada, up from $5.5 billion completed in 2019. This came even as regulatory scrutiny and tensions with China were elevated in both countries. California, Ontario, Delaware, North Carolina, and Massachusetts were the North American regions seeing the most Chinese investment.

Entertainment, health and biotech, and natural resources were the top sectors in North America. Billion dollar deals like Tencent’s stake in Universal Music and Zijin’s stake in Canada’s Continental Resources drove high industry concentration in North America in 2020.

Canada accounted for a larger share of total Chinese FDI in North America than in previous years (17%), reflecting momentum in mining deals and persistently low US investment.

Chinese companies continued to make major asset divestitures in North America in 2020. For example, Platinum Equity agreed to acquire Ingram Micro from HNA for $7.2 billion in December 2020. And in September, PetroChina dissolved its Alberta shale gas joint venture project with Ovintiv after outing up $2.2 billion for a 49.9% stake in the project in 2012.

The United States attracted more greenfield investment from China in 2020 than Canada. However, total Chinese greenfield investment in the United States was still modest at around $700 million. The biggest greenfield deals in the US included expansions of existing US footprints for companies like Haier-owned GE Appliances, Fuyao Glass, and Geely-owned Terrafugia.

Chinese companies nearly halve investment in Europe

Completed Chinese FDI in Europe continued its downward trajectory in 2020 to $7.5 billion from $13.4 billion in 2019, registering a lower total than in North America for the first time since 2016. Compared to North America, Chinese M&A transactions in Europe targeted medium-sized targets across a broader spectrum of industries. Chinese greenfield activity in Europe in 2020 was more robust than in North America, with nearly $1 billion in completed investment during the year. There were more midsized transactions in Europe dispersed across industries such as real estate and hospitality, automotive, and energy.

As with investment in North America, outbound capital controls and increased scrutiny of Chinese investment in host countries presented headwinds, as did the coronavirus pandemic. For example, FAW Group discontinued talks to acquire Italian truck maker Iveco for €3 billion during the year, with FAW citing the pandemic as a factor in its decision.

Germany ($2.0 billion), France ($1.0 billion), Poland ($780 million), Sweden ($719 million), and the United Kingdom ($427 million) received the most investment. Investment levels in Germany reverted to the roughly $2 billion normal range typical before 2019. Chinese investment in France mounted a comeback in 2020 after falling precipitously in 2019 thanks to a few major completed acquisitions. Investment in Poland focused on a single major warehouse portfolio acquisition, while in Sweden there continues to be sustained Chinese investment above historical averages.

With the uncertainty of Brexit, persistent Chinese restrictions on outbound transactions in real estate and other service sectors, and increasing tensions with China, the United Kingdom fell to the fifth among European countries this year with only about $427 million of investment through a few smaller completed M&A deals like Jingye Group/British Steel. But a major billion-dollar Huawei greenfield R&D investment announced in June suggests Chinese firms are still interested in the UK and will bolster future totals if it comes to fruition. Levels of Chinese investment in Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands also fell to very low levels.

Compared to North America, Chinese M&A transactions in Europe targeted medium-sized companies across a broader spectrum of industries. The top deals by investment size included targets like a warehouse network in Poland and a few other Central European nations (GLP, $1.1 billion), Germany’s Steigenberger Hotels AG (Huazhu Group, $780 million), France’s Asteelflash (Universal Scientific Industrial, $422 million), National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Evergrande, $380 million), and France’s Maxeon Solar Technologies (Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor, $300 million).

There were also large multi-year greenfield projects announced during the year such as SVolt Energy Technology’s announced $2.4 billion battery plant in Germany slated to open in late 2023.

EU-China Investment Deal

The proposed CAI Deal will facilitate minor additional opening of the EU market to Chinese investors. The European market was already very open to Chinese and other foreign capital. The CAI commits the EU to further open its energy sector, with the focus on retail and wholesale, but excluding trading platforms.

The CAI will not limit EU member states in deploying defensive measures including FDI screening, legislation to address subsidy distortions in the Single Market, the adoption of a more restrictive procurement regime and its push to reduce risks related to 5G.

“While regulatory and political headwinds for Chinese investors in the EU will persist and the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment is not an instant game-changer, it does send a strong signal that Chinese investment is welcome in Europe, which is likely to positively impact investor psychology,” said Thomas Gilles, chair of Baker McKenzie’s EMEA-China Group. “That, combined with potential political encouragement by Beijing, could help revive Chinese FDI in Europe and reverse the downward trend since 2017.”

Outlook brightening?

“Recent signals – most importantly the transition to a new US administration and a successful conclusion of the CAI – point toward a more constructive global environment for Chinese companies compared to the previous four years, which could help improve investor sentiment and risk appetite,” said Tracy Wut, Baker McKenzie’s head of M&A for Hong Kong and China.

Additionally, China’s current account surplus ballooned in 2020 as global travel halted Chinese overseas tourism spending while Chinese exports recovered before many other nations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This has put appreciating pressure on the renminbi and is creating an opportunity for China to allow more capital outflows, including outbound M&A.

Finally, Chinese investors will have more transparency on ‘red lines’ in overseas jurisdictions as new investment screening regimes are settling: “Tougher investment screening rules and related policies have substantially increased regulatory risks and uncertainty for Chinese investors, especially in data, technology, infrastructure, and related areas in recent years,” says Sylwia Lis, an international trade partner in Baker McKenzie’s Washington, DC office. “Additional uncertainties came through ad-hoc tightening of review criteria in many jurisdictions during the height of the pandemic. Looking ahead, while foreign investment review rules and practices will undoubtedly continue to evolve, some of the uncertainty around new regulatory regimes is easing as legislation has been implemented and regimes become functional.”