Felsberg gears up for infrastructure work in Brazil
12 May 2015 | by Chris Cooper
In an effort to reinforce its infrastructure, projects and regulatory practices, São Paulo-based firm Felsberg Advogados has expanded its partnership to 15 with the hiring of an associate from Dias Carneiro Arystóbulo Flores Sanches & Thomaz Bastos Advogados.
Daniel Engel advises foreign and multinational companies on a variety of transactions involving public entities, regulated sectors, infrastructure projects and exploitation of natural resources. He was part of the team that advised renewable energy producer Renova in July 2014 on a deal whereby Cemig will invest $50.8 million into a wind farm project in northeast Brazil. In December 2013, he advised Marubeni and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan on the joint acquisition of 100% of AGS, a water service company in Portugal, from Somague Ambiente, a subsidiary of Spanish construction company Sacyr Valleheremoso.
As Brazil maneuvers through one of its biggest corruption scandals ever, involving Petrobras and some of its major construction companies, Engel believes that there is a silver lining.
“The [construction] industry has been heavily affected, but in the end of the day it might be a successful story for the infrastructure market as a whole,” he said. “The infrastructure industry should bounce back in a couple of years, or even sooner than that, if well-crafted rules are put in place to, balancing all involved interests, gradually allow certain valuable assets affected by such scandals to return to the market, as well as if traditional regulatory barriers for foreign players and smaller local construction companies are lifted.”
Engel anticipates a number of trends in the local market, including the possible return of large concessions and PPP programs with substantial private investments, reinforcement of the shift of project financing from subsidized public funds to capital markets sources, a resurgent interest of multilaterals in the Brazilian market, and the overhaul of the general legal framework for public procurement.
“I am confident that the conditions are being constructed for the infrastructure work to pick up soon again, and across the board,” he said. “Firms with a holistic view of the infrastructure practice, with integrated capacities in corporate, finance, regulatory and contract matters, as well as market insight, will be able to strive.”