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  1. Bankruptcy and restructuring
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A leading restructuring firm in Brazil, Felsberg Advogados is highly acclaimed for its debtor-side practice. In one highlight, Thomas Benes Felsberg acted for Ecovix Group, the owner of the largest dry dock in Latin America, in its restructuring of approximately $2.6bn of debt. Elsewhere, Paulo Fernando Campana Filho has been advising Triunfo Agroindustrial in its court-supervised reorganisation. The team, which is able to draw on the firm’s strengths in areas such as labour, tax and corporate, has also been active in creditor-side mandates and distressed M&A. Team developments in 2017 included the promotion to partner of Clara Moreira Azzoni and the departure of Pedro Henrique Torres Bianchi to Starboard Restructuring Partners.

Pinheiro Guimarães – Advogados is a strong and well-established name in the market. Combining its expertise in banking and litigation, it has broad experience in bankruptcy-related work, where it is engaged by leading financial institutions. Francisco José Pinheiro Guimarães and Sérgio Ramos Yoshino are instructed in relation to the restructuring of Estre Ambiental’s R$1.9bn debt, acting for creditors Banco BTG Pactual, Banco Santander and Itaú Unibanco. In a cross-border matter involving Luxemburg and the US, a team led by Eduardo Augusto Mattar, Marcelo Lamy Rego and Renata Machado Veloso is representing certain entities controlled by Brookfield Renewable in the judicial reorganisation of Tonon Bioenergia and affiliated companies. Ivie Moura Alves and Fábio Yanitchkis Couto are other key names in the São Paulo office, and are recommended alongside the highly regarded Plinio Pinheiro Guimarães Neto in Rio de Janeiro.

Pinheiro Neto Advogados has a core team of three partners dedicated to bankruptcy and restructuring matters, working alongside other partners in the firm’s leading corporate and banking departments. It regularly has a role in headline-making restructurings in Brazil. A team led by Giuliano Colombo continued to represent an ad hoc committee of bondholders in the judicial reorganisation of Oi Group’s R$65bn debt; as the largest organised group of creditors, the committee has played a prominent role in the reorganisation. Luiz Fernando Valente de Paiva is advising CHS Agronegocio-Industria e Comercio as the largest creditor in the judicial reorganisation of Seara Agronegócios, which filed a recovery plan in January 2018. André Moraes Marques is the other key contact.

BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão stands out as a full-service firm capable of taking on debtor-side restructuring mandates, and has been investing heavily in its team in recent years; in a significant move in 2017, Eduardo Guimarães Wanderley joined from Veirano Advogados, and his arrival further bolsters the department’s capabilities for creditor-side work. The firm has also gained prominence through its role as lead counsel for Oi Group in its court-supervised restructuring; Sergio Savi and Felipe Evaristo dos Santos Galea have been leading the team on this matter.

The ‘very responsive’ team at Demarest Advogados combines experts in judicial reorganisations, corporate reorganisations, corporate finance and M&A, and demonstrates ‘great business acumen’. The multidisciplinary nature of the group enables it to handle court and out-of-court proceedings and distressed M&A transactions. António Manuel França Aires has been representing Banco Caixa Geral and Votorantim Group as creditors in the high-profile judicial reorganisation of OAS Group. In other significant work, Fabio de Almeida Braga has been acting for Erwin Junker Maschinenfabrik in litigation to exclude its €1.46m credit from WHB Fundição’s judicial reorganisation. Celso Xavier co-heads the department alongside Aires. Guilherme Fontes Bechara, Maria Isabel Fontana and Matheus Azevedo Bastos de Oliveira are rising stars.

The highly regarded team at Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados receives praise for its ‘short response times’ and ‘broad knowledge’. In an illustration of the firm’s strong commitment to the bankruptcy and restructuring practice, it promoted Rafael Capelão Carretero to partner in 2017. Renata Martins de Oliveira Amado has been acting as outside counsel to Telefônica Brasil and others as creditors in the ongoing Oi Group judicial recovery. In another complex case, José Ribeiro do Prado Júnior and Carretero represented Banco Bradesco, Banco do Brasil and Banco Indusval in the debt restructuring of Unigel Group, which has seen the existing security agreement split into three independent parts to accommodate three groups of creditors. Renato Gomes Ribeiro Maggio is recommended. Rafael Capelão Carretero was promoted to partner in 2017.

Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados fields a sizeable multidisciplinary team with capabilities in debt restructuring, distressed M&A and bankruptcy-related litigation. It was further strengthened in 2017 by the promotion to partner of capital markets and restructuring specialist Frederico Kerr Bullamah. Its work highlights included representing Odebrecht Realizações Imobiliárias e Participações in the restructuring of debt with Itaú Unibanco and Banco Bradesco, with Bruno Mastriani Simões Tuca leading the advice. Marcelo Ricupero, Marina Anselmo Schneider and Alex Hatanaka are also key figures in the team.

Dedicated bankruptcy and insolvency boutique Mange Advogados Associados has a well-established reputation. It acts for medium-sized and large companies in judicial and extra-judicial recovery and other bankruptcy-related matters. Its diverse client base includes companies active in the aviation, sugar, retail and financial services sectors. The four-partner team is led by well-known name partner Renato Luiz de Macedo Mange.

The ‘very proactive and diligent’ team at Veirano Advogados combines transactional and litigation expertise, such that it is well equipped to handle judicial and out-of-court recoveries. Highlights included representing Banco Santander in the negotiation of the pre-pack reorganisation plan submitted by Colombo, which marked the country’s largest extra-judicial reorganisation; Sérgio Bronstein, Cássio Cavalli (who made partner in 2017) and Daniela Anversa took key roles. Gustavo Moraes Stolagli and Ricardo Gama are other names to note in the team, which has expanded at associate level through several recent hires, including Priscila Riccetto Bertolucci Pereira from Soares Bumachar Chagas Barros Advogados. Eduardo Guimarães Wanderley left for BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão.

Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto Advogados has strong experience in judicial and extra-judicial restructurings and distressed M&A transactions, and is well placed to put together multidisciplinary teams drawing on its corporate, finance and capital markets practices. It also stands out for the level of integration between its restructuring and oil and gas practices, making it particularly well suited to handle complex bankruptcy-related proceedings in the sector. Fábio Rosas has continued to represent Bratel in the Oi Group’s reorganisation and in related litigation.

Galdino, Coelho, Mendes Advogados maintains a busy restructuring practice across its São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offices, with an emphasis on debtor-side work. Eduardo Takemi Kataoka and Flavio Galdino successfully defended SuperVia in a bankruptcy procedure filed against it by Light Serviços de Eletricidade; and João Mendes de Oliveira Castro represented BTG Pactual/Enforce in its successful bid for Novaportfólio: a novel transaction in which certain assets of a bankrupt estate were spun off to a new company (Novaportfólio) and submitted to auction.

Lefosse Advogados is regularly instructed by major Brazilian banks in bankruptcy and restructuring procedures, and combines transactional and dispute resolution capabilities; Roberto Zarour and Renata Cardoso both draw on past in-house experience in large banks, and work closely with colleagues in litigation on complex mandates. Raphael Nehin Corrêa leads the team.

The diverse restructuring and insolvency team at Lilla, Huck, Otranto, Camargo Advogados represents creditors, shareholders, debtors and trustees. Rogério Carmona Bianco represented longstanding client Porto Seguro Saúde as creditor in the judicial restructuring of Bastien Indústria Metalúrgica. The sizeable department is led by Luis Gustavo Haddad and includes Bruno Robert and Luiz Felipe Pereira Gomes Lopes.

Sergio Bermudes Advogados leverages its well-known expertise in litigation to ensure a steady flow of work in the areas of judicial recovery and bankruptcy-related disputes. It counts a number of Brazilian and international financial institutions among its clients and also has experience representing debtors. Marcelo Lamego Carpenter, Marcio Vieira Souto Costa Ferreira and Sergio Bermudes are names to note.

The restructuring team at Stocche Forbes Advogados is particularly renowned for its transactional capabilities, and is also well versed in litigation. The firm is well placed to handle a range of debt restructurings and workouts, drawing on its impressive structured finance offering as well as its insolvency expertise. Its recent work includes representing major bondholder and equity holder Solus Alternative Asset Management in the Oi Group restructuring. Key figures in the team are Frederico Moura, Domingos Fernando Refinetti and senior associate Guilherme Gaspari Coelho. Paulo Padis has left the firm.

Formed in 2014, the cohesive bankruptcy and insolvency practice at Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown acts for creditors, trustees, bankruptcy trustees, debtors, bondholders and investors in distressed assets. Leonardo Morato represented BNY Mellon as trustee of notes issued by Oi Group in connection with its judicial reorganisation; the team’s mandate also included defending trustees’ rights under the judicial proceeding. Luciana Celidonio and associate Olivia Roxo Nobre do Amaral Mesquita are other active members of the team.

Restructuring and insolvency is a focal area at boutique firm Thomaz Bastos, Waisberg and Kurzweil Advogados. The sizeable team includes partners and senior associates with extensive experience in debt restructuring and dispute resolution. Significant mandates included representing OAS Group in its judicial reorganisation, including its negotiations with creditors and employees. Ivo Waisberg, Joel Luís Thomaz Bastos, Bruno Kurzweil de Oliveira and Ricardo Pomeranc Matsumoto are key names.

Castro, Barros, Sobral, Gomes Advogados’ litigation capabilities ensure a steady flow of instructions from creditors in judicial restructurings. Its clients include domestic and international banks and asset management companies. Alexandre Espínola Catramby leads the team.

Fernando Lobo and Luis Augusto Roux Azevedo co-lead the department at DDSA - De Luca, Derenusson, Schuttoff e Azevedo Advogados, which has developed a particular niche strength representing judicial administrators in restructuring procedures. In a recent example, it assisted Alvarez & Marsal in the judicial reorganisation of OAS Group.

Dias Carneiro Advogados revitalised its restructuring practice with the hire of Laura Mendes Bumachar from Soares Bumachar Chagas Barros Advogados; she brings extensive experience in civil litigation, reorganisations and recovery. She works alongside transactional partner Eduardo Zilberberg and litigator Antonio Nachif.

Restructuring and litigation are focal areas at E. Munhoz Advogados, which specialises in high-end, complex cases. Its broad client base includes creditors, debtors and investors. In a recent highlight, the team acted for major real estate company PDG in its restructuring of R$6.2bn debt. Eduardo Secchi Munhoz and Carolina Kiyomi Iwamoto are names to note.

At Leite, Tosto e Barros Advogados Associados, the ‘highly accomplished lawyers have a great amount of experience’ and ‘render services at a fair and reasonable cost’. The firm is well regarded for its dispute resolution capabilities, and acts for both creditors and debtors in restructurings. Rodrigo Quadrante attracts particular praise alongside the ‘business-focused and creative’ Paulo Guilherme Lopes.

The experienced restructuring team at Perlman Vidigal Godoy Advogados acts for creditors and distressed asset investors, counting Banco Santander, Banco Paulista and Itaú Unibanco among its clients. Former federal judge Luciano de Souza Godoy heads the department and works closely with civil litigation expert Ricardo Zamariola Júnior.

Fábio Pascual Zuanon and Bruno Alexandre Gutierres are key names at RZ Advogados, which has a strong practice in judicial reorganisations, credit recovery and insolvency. Clients include domestic and international banks.

The ‘highly committed’ and ‘professional’ team at Souto Correa Cesa Lummertz & Amaral Advogados combines extensive geographic coverage in Brazil with strong experience representing international clients. Gilberto Deon Corrêa Júnior and associate Fernando Pellenz represented Chinatex in litigation concerning Cotrijuí’s liquidation. Luis Felipe Spinelli and Rodrigo Tellechea made partner in January 2018.

TozziniFreire Advogados’ clients include Banco Santander, Banco Bradesco and Brookfield Infrastructure Group. Flávia Cristina Moreira de Campos Andrade heads the department. Luciana Faria Nogueira left for Manassero Campello Advogados in December 2017.

Well-respected boutique Mandel Advocacia has a long history in the Brazilian market. José Fernando Mandel and Julio Kahan Mandel head the practice.

The ‘excellentMoura Tavares, Figueiredo, Moreira e Campos Advogados is noted for its ‘confidence, transparency and knowledge’. The bankruptcy and judicial recovery team has a strong track record representing debtors in judicial reorganisations. Alexandre Figueiredo de Andrade Urbano and Leonardo de Almeida Sandes attract strong praise.

Pedro Miguel Law has had notable successes representing companies facing bankruptcy and financial difficulties. The key contacts are the ‘knowledgeable’ Heitor Miguel and Anna Carla Marujo Rossetti.

Fernando Bilotti Ferreira is the name to note at Santos Neto Advogados, which has considerable experience in judicial restructurings. Its clients include financial institutions and debtor companies from a range of industries.

Scalzilli Althaus Chimelo Spohr Advogados has offices in São Paulo and Porto Alegre, from where it handles a range of judicial and extra-judicial restructurings and bankruptcy-related litigation. The firm has a strong record representing debtor companies. Gabriele Chimelo is the main contact.

Siqueira Castro – Advogados has expertise in debt recovery, debt renegotiation and other bankruptcy-related matters. Carlos Fernando Siqueira Castro and Guilherme Dantas head the practice.

Noted for its ‘very good technical advice’, Trench Rossi Watanabe fields a multidisciplinary team of banking, finance and litigation partners, with notable experience advising lenders and creditors in recovery proceedings and reorganisations. Gledson Marques de Campos acted for Export Development Canada in the judicial reorganisation of Península International. Litigation specialist Giuliana Bonanno Schunck and associate Mariana Fernandes Conrado are also recommended.

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