Felsberg adds administrative partner ahead of predicted infrastructure uptick
Latin Lawyer on-line
Monday, 11 May 2015 (2 hours ago) by Lulu Rumsey
Felsberg Advogados has increased its partnership to 15 with the addition of a partner to head a new administrative and public law department – a month after it recruited a corporate partner in to the firm.
Daniel Engel, 34, joined Felsberg on 4 May. He was previously an associate at Dias Carneiro, Arystóbulo, Flores, Sanches and Thomaz Bastos Advogados.
At Felsberg he will use his experience in concessions and private public partnerships, project finance, M&As and energy, mining, transport and finance regulations to lead an administrative and public law practice that will have a strong focus on regulatory work relating to infrastructure deals. In 2014 Engel participated in a number of M&A deals in the energy and infrastructure sector, including helping Japan’s Marubeni and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan buy a Portuguese water concessionaire with stakes in three Brazilian water companies, marking the first time Japanese companies have bought into Brazil’s water industry. He also advised renewable energy producer Renova and Minas Gerais power company Cemig on a US$51 million investment deal for a wind farm in northeast Brazil and helped Chinese auto-part manufacturer Zhongding acquire assets from its Brazilian counterpart, Sabó Indústria e Comércio de Autopeças.
Felsberg is confident Brazil’s construction sector will soon bounce back from the Lava Jato corruption investigation that has led many engineering companies – including OAS, Grupo Schahin and Amal – to seek bankruptcy protection. Felsberg managing partner Thomas Felsberg, who heads the infrastructure practice, admits that it is difficult to predict when Brazil’s construction market will pick up, but says he is confident it will soon because of Brazil’s infrastructure needs. “The market is currently paralysed, but we have been receiving an increasing amount of questions and requests for proposals for projects which different groups are contemplating,” he says.
He anticipates that medium-sized Brazilian and foreign construction companies will up their market share, as some of the country’s largest construction conglomerates continue to face scrutiny as a result of the corruption scandal involving state-owned energy company Petrobras. “Recent events and scandals have undoubtedly undermined Brazilian infrastructure. However, this does not mean that Brazil no longer has enormous needs in this area, and these have to be addressed urgently,” he says.
Last month another Brazilian firm, Bichara Advogados, opened an infrastructure practice to capitalise on Brazil’s need for improvements to its roads, ports and airports, particularly in the north of the country.
Felsberg’s partnership also includes new corporate partner João Carlos Anderson Corrêa de Mendonça, who joined last month from Veirano Advogados. The firm is still in merger negotiations with Rio de Janeiro-based corporate boutique Vitor Costa Advogados: the two firms signed an association agreement in early 2014 but have not yet set a date for a full-on merger. A merger with three-partner Vitor Costa would bring Felsberg increased oil and gas, mining and infrastructure capabilities.
Thiago Flores, partner at Dias Carneiro, wishes Engel well and says his firm will not be hiring a replacement. Flores heads Dias Carneiro’s project finance practice, while Ricardo Sanches leads on infrastructure work. The firm recently boosted its own partner count with the addition of two debt restructuring partners from Costa, Waisberg e Tavares Paes Sociedade de Advogados.