Passing the Baton
With last year’s Olympic Games having been hosted by London and the next World Cup and Olympics taking place in Brazil, Caio Queiroz, who has recently returned from working and studying in London, talks to us about how Felsberg’s British Desk views the business opportunities for the two nations.
Felsberg e Associados – What has led to you being asked to head up the firm’s British Desk?
Caio Queiroz – I have just concluded by Masters Degree at King’s College London whilst I was also an associate of two ‘magic circle’ law firms for more than 10 years. This means that my experience and networking in the UK legal sector has given me the necessary background for this challenging task at Felsberg e Associados.
The main idea of the British Desk is to build and strengthen relationships with British utilities companies, funds and law firms with interests in the Brazilian infrastructure sector, as well as to serve as a conduit for Brazilian clients that wish to internationalise their business.
FeA – Considering Brazil’s current investment climate, where do the opportunities lie for British companies?
CQ – The momentum for investment in Brazil is enormous – there have been several changes in the regulation of infrastructure sectors that envisage untying the bottlenecks that have been holding back the development of the country.
Brazilian democracy has shown great maturity and the capital market has grown exponentially over the last decade. Brazil represents a diverse range of opportunities from tourism to oil and gas, and events such as the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, which provide the perfect scenario for foreign companies to invest in – the country will need external funding, expertise and technology to undertake several of the projects at hand.
Considering the experience infrastructure and sports marketing companies have had in the wake of the recently successful London Olympics, for example, there are several immediate and interesting opportunities in this area that are well suited to British companies, and our firm is well positioned to help them do business in Brazil.
FeA – Have there been any changes recently in terms of legislation and regulation, therefore opening the way for these opportunities?
CQ – Yes, there have been a number of what look set to be extremely beneficial changes involving the various areas of infrastructure. Recently, for instance, the ports regulatory framework has changed and concessionaires of private terminals will be allowed to handle third parties’ cargo without the obligation to operate its own cargo.
Elsewhere, the Federal Government has continued to carry-out public bids for ‘greenfield’ electric energy projects, and solar and ‘waste to energy’ projects are beginning to develop – something which may be very interesting to British companies that own this kind of technology.
In transport, the tender of the speed-train between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is planned for 2013, whilst several new subway lines are being developed in the biggest cities, and regional passenger and cargo railroads are being tendered all over the country.
The development of regional airports is a priority and a new law has been enacted for that purpose – key airports will be privatised throughout the country over the coming months and this is a trend for the sector.
More generally, incentivised project bonds with tax exemptions have been created with the aim of attracting new investments, and Public-Private-Partnerships regulation has also been reviewed to perfect and expand projects using this model.
FeA – What role do you feel the British Desk can take in facilitating investment by companies from the UK?
CQ – Felsberg is a full service firm with a long track-record of clients and successful projects – the possibility of concentrating the British clients and projects under the same team means that we are able to create synergies and increase efficiency for all our clients. In addition, I feel that my experience of doing business in the UK means that the British Desk is able to provide legal advice based upon the same model that British clients and firms are used to. This allows us to focus on the results, objectiveness and timing needed, without delays or unnecessary analysis of aspects that are not relevant to the clients.