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All signs indicate that the momentum behind Spain’s economic recovery is set to continue. GDP growth has maintained a solid pace, mainly driven by domestic consumption, facilitated by the availability of new money and the improving labour market. Despite this favourable context, the headlines have been largely dominated in recent months by the acrimonious exchange between pro-independence movements in Catalonia and the Spanish central government. Madrid seized control of devolved powers in October and – at the time of writing – regional elections have been scheduled for December 2017. This is unlikely to be the end of the issue however, as pro-independence parties have announced they will be contesting the election. Although it is too early to assess whether the economy will suffer as a result of the tension, there have been some signs of concern in the market, albeit limited.

The M&A sector has seen considerable activity with foreign investment funds increasing their interests in the country; equally the banking and finance arena remains busy, with traditional banking institutions and new lending houses particularly active. Other sectors which have also benefitted from the influx of new money into the market includes real estate, where there has been considerable interest from local and foreign investment funds, enhanced by the notable and successful development of SOCIMIs (Spanish equivalent of REITs).

There is healthy competition in the legal industry, where Spanish heavyweights Uría Menéndez, Garrigues and Cuatrecasas have a leading presence, alongside international names including Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Ashurst LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and others. Other important domestic firms include Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, Pérez-Llorca and RCD - Rousaud Costas Duran.

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