Banking and finance in Brazil
The 'excellent team' at Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados is valued for its 'real strength-in-depth' and its 'great partner-led service'. The comprehensive practice is widely recognised for both its premier client list -which includes domestic and multinational banks, financial institutions and insurers- and its top-level firepower in both transactional and regulatory matters. Among its headline deals, Adriano Schnur Gabriel Ferreira advised RIOgaleão Airport on a R$1.6bn long-term financing from BNDES, Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco, Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco Santander (Brasil) to support its expansion. On the restructuring side, the firm advised Vogel Telecom on a new credit line with Banco do Brasil of up to R$150m to repay existing debt and fund working capital - José Ribeiro do Prado Júnior and newly made-up partner Bruno Racy led that work. On the regulatory front, Eduardo Avila de Castro advised PayPal do Brasil Serviços de Pagamentos on the local regulatory aspects of the global payments giant's acquisition of iZettle. In addition, Nei Schilling Zelmanovits , who co-leads the department alongside de Castro, represented Banco Daycoval in high-profile administrative proceedings stemming from allegations of irregular practices in the collection of registration fees. The group also benefits from the senior experience of structured-finance specialist Renato Gomes Ribeiro Maggio ('a great choice for complex financing agreements'), 'excellent' project finance expert José Virgílio Lopes Enei and name partner José Roberto Opice. In 2018, the group also saw the partner promotions of Pedro Henrique Jardim, Raphael Zono and next generation lawyer Thais de Gobbi.
Finance powerhouse Pinheiro Guimarães – Advogados ranks squarely among the elite firms in the market due to its 'strong specialist expertise in banking matters' and its 'outstanding technical skills', with one client affirming 'this team's work requires no corrections'. A top choice for local and international banks, including Banco Bradesco, HSBC and Itaú BBA, it also advises governments, development agencies, multilateral organisations and seasoned corporate issuers on a broad range of syndicated lending, structured finance, project finance, debt capital markets and restructuring transactions. The group, which 'combines high-quality work with a pro-business approach', is led jointly by 'great team players' Francisco José Pinheiro Guimarães and Plinio Pinheiro Guimarães Neto from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro respectively. The department also includes Sao Paulo-based debt finance expert Ivie Moura Alves, Sao Paulo office head Francisco Pinheiro Guimarães Neto and senior partner Fábio Yanitchkis Couto, who is based in Rio de Janeiro - as well as new arrival, Maria Costa Neves Machado, who recently joined in Sao Paulo from Itaú BBA. Among its bank-side mandates, the team advised the lenders (including Citibank, Goldman Sachs do Brasil, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley as joint lead arrangers) on a R$3.5bn loan to Sky Serviços de Banda Larga. It also assisted Credit Suisse and JP Morgan, as underwriters, with Enel Brasil Investimentos Sudeste's R$5.3bn offering of secured commercial papers, and for Banco Bradesco, as underwriter, on Enel's R$4bn offering of unsecured commercial papers. Among its issuer-side highlights, the group recently handled debt offerings for Andrade Gutierrez International and Pirapora Solar Holdings.
Pinheiro Neto Advogados' broad finance practice remains at the forefront of market trends in the sector, with strong skill-sets in syndicated lending, trade finance, project finance, debt transactions, fintech, banking M&A and regulatory matters, among other areas. In a major headline deal, the firm was selected by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to advise on the $435m sale -by subsidiary MUFG Bank- of its stake in Banco Bradesco; group co-head José Luiz Homem de Mello teamed-up with Fernando Mirandez Del Nero Gomes, Guilherme Sampaio Monteiro and Flavio Veitzman to lead that transaction. Homem de Mello was also at the helm for the firm's advice to Banco Indusval on the sale of an ownership interest in Guide Investimentos to a subsidiary of Fosun International. Also on the bank M&A-side, high-profile department co-head Bruno Balduccini assisted State Street with its acquisition of Natixis Brasil. On the lending front, the firm advised a six-bank syndicate on a loan to SJC Bioenergia, which involved a significant restructuring component - Ricardo Russo led that work. In addition, the firm excels in regulatory matters, such as derivatives specialist Fernando Ruiz de Almeida Prado's ongoing advice to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association on regulatory issues. Tiago Araujo Dias Themudo Lessa is another key name in a group that also counts Caixa Econômica Federal, PagSeguro and Santander Group among its representative clients.
At Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto Advogados, the 'partners are always available and fully involved in deals', according to sources. The practice, which is traditionally best known for its expertise in project finance and complex debt restructuring transactions, had an impressive year on the sovereign front. Most notably, Rio de Janeiro-based Maurício Teixeira dos Santos advised BB Securities and BNP Paribas on the local aspects of Rio Oil Finance Trust's $600m notes offering, which allowed the State of Rio de Janeiro to repay debts incurred to fund its employees' pension fund. In Sao Paulo, high-profile figure Ronald Herscovici, whose 'knowledge and behaviour towards counter parties are an asset to any client', paired up with Daniel Laudisio, who has ‘an eye for detail’, to advise Suzano Papel e Celulose on a $6.9bn bridge loan facility to fund the acquisition of Fibria - a transaction that represented the largest unsecured acquisition-financing in Brazil to date. In a significant cross-office collaboration, Sao Paulo's Alexandre Gossn Barreto acted alongside Rio de Janeiro-based project finance specialist Rafael Baleroni to act for Deutsche Bank on a $130m loan to GTB-TBG Holdings. Other names to note include Joaquim José Aceturi de Oliveira and Ana Paula Calil in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro-based Eduardo Kuhlmann Abrantes.
Demarest Advogados' practice routinely handles syndicated loans, debt restructurings and trade finance, with a strong presence in the automotive and agribusiness sectors. In a recent example, key partner Fabio de Almeida Braga advised Banco do Brasil and Banco Bradesco, as lenders, and JPMorgan Chase Bank, as administrative agent, on the Brazilian leg of a $14.5bn global syndicated loan to General Motors, including General Motors do Brasil. Among borrower-side highlights, Braga advised Goodyear Tire & Rubber on the local aspects of a $400m refinancing. António Manuel França Aires is a 'reference in the market for banking matters' and advised new client China Development Bank on the extension of unsecured working-capital loans totaling $22m to XCMG Brasil. Antonio Giglio Neto is also a senior name and acted as Brazilian counsel to CCB Financial Leasing on the $235.5m sale and leaseback of a floating storage and regasification unit. The practice has also recently undertaken work for Banco Hyundai Capital Brasil and Paschoalotto Serviços Financeiros. Senior associate Marcelo Simon Ikeziri is also recommended for his ability to 'simplify complex matters'. Since publication the team has been further strengthened with the February 2020 hire of Helen Naves, formerly at Trench Rossi Watanabe.
Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados houses a 'very attentive and specialised' banking practice, which is well weighted between regulatory and transactional matters. On the regulatory front, Renato Schermman Ximenes de Melo represented several private and public companies in negotiating agreements with the Brazilian Securities Commission to suspend administrative procedures involving market manipulation accusations. In another regulatory highlight, Bruno Mastriani Simões Tuca advised Mercado Pago, MercadoLibre's payment platform, on the restructuring of Mercado Crédito Merchant Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios. On the transactional side, Marina Anselmo Schneider -whose support ‘gives clients the edge in complex mandates’- advised the lenders on the structuring of a security package granted by Brazil Tower Company's Brazilian subsidiaries in connection with a $104m loan. In addition, Frederico Kerr Bullamah, noted as 'always available, very helpful and very specialised', advised the financing parties on a cross-border acquisition financing to support Carlyle and GIC's acquisition of the specialty chemicals business of AkzoNobel. The multidisciplinary practice also benefits from the senior experience of highly regarded project-finance expert Pablo Sorj, administrative law expert Alex Hatanaka and managing partner José Eduardo Carneiro Queiroz.
Veirano Advogados' national banking and finance practice benefits from top-level firepower in both its Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo offices. Notably, the former city is the base of department lead Marcelo Mattos, who enjoys a strong profile in the market for his specialist expertise in energy, shipping and mining-related transactions. Among his highlights, Mattos advised Equinox Gold on an $85m financing provided by Sprott Private Resource Lending (Collector) to Equinox Gold's subsidiary Aurizona Goldfields to support the development of its Aurizona Gold mining project. Indeed, project finance generally is a signature group strength. In another example of its prominent reputation in that area, Ana Carolina Barretto, who leads the firm's projects practice in Sao Paulo, paired up with Rio de Janeiro-based corporate finance specialist Pedro Freitas to advise concessionaire Fraport Brasil Aeroporto de Fortaleza on a R$692m financing granted by Banco do Nordeste do Brasil to fund the expansion and maintenance of Fortaleza International Airport. Outside the projects space, Sao Paulo's Daniela Anversa advised Sky Serviços de Banda Larga, as borrower, on the local aspects of its $1bn syndicated loan involving 16 banks, including Citibank and JP Morgan. Other names to note in Rio de Janeiro include Otávio Carneiro and Elisa Rezende, while Lior Pinsky is also a key contact in Sao Paulo. Rogério Campos recently made partner in Rio de Janeiro.
The banking practice at BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão brings broad experience across a wide spread of syndicated lending, project finance, debt capital markets and structured finance transactions. In particular, the group leverages the wider firm's stellar corporate relationships to pack a punch in borrower-side work, but it is also routinely engaged by financial institutions for lender-side mandates and M&A transactions. Highlights included advising Brazilian construction giant Queiroz Galvão on refinancing negotiations involving all of its credit and loan facilities, worth over R$10bn - corporate partner Plinio Simões Barbosa acted alongside Rafael d’Avila Dutra to lead that work. In another headline deal, practice head Camila Goldberg acted as Brazilian counsel to BTG Pactual Holding, as borrower, on a $350m senior secured credit facility with UBS. The department also includes Anna Carolina de Oliveira Malta, who is a key contact for finance and compliance matters, and debt-finance specialist Paulo Ceppas Figueiredo.
Among Stocche Forbes Advogados' key attributes, sources highlight its 'great track record in banking and finance deals', its 'very strong knowledge of the market and regulatory regime' and also its 'partner-led service'. A prominent player in borrower-side mandates, the group is particularly commended for its 'experience in dealing with complex deals involving different lenders, financing instruments and security packages'. Among the team's highlights, Rio de Janeiro-based Frederico Moura advised Xingu Rio Transmissora de Energia (a Brazilian vehicle controlled by China's State Grid), on a long-term financing from Brazilian National Development Bank BNDES. In Sao Paulo, Marcos Ribeiro advised Nordea Bank on the local aspects of its credit line to Norskan - the security package included assets from Norskan's subsidiaries around the world, including its Brazilian subsidiary. Other key names include Guilherme Forbes ('hands-on and technically excellent'), Miriam Signor ('very knowledgeable and one of the most dedicated and detailed-oriented lawyers around') and Henrique Filizzola — all are based in Sao Paulo.
TozziniFreire Advogados advised on an impressive run of lender-side mandates over the past year, for major financial institutions such as Banco Santander Brasil, IFC and JP Morgan. Among highlight mandates, the practice advised Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) on a €50m loan to Banco Regional de Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul (BRDE) to finance green projects - Kenneth Antunes Ferreira led that work. Group head Alexei Bonamin, who is held up by sources as a 'go-to lawyer for derivatives and structured projects', teamed up with Ferreira and Fabíola Augusta Cavalcanti to advise the initial purchasers on Unigel Luxembourg's $200m notes offering, as part of the group's debt restructuring. On the regulatory front, Bonamin advised Agricultural Bank of China on regulatory and financial compliance issues. Antonio Felix de Araujo Cintra, who is recommended for his deep experience in project finance and capital markets, is also a key contact.
The 'compact but highly focused group' at Campos Mello Advogados impresses with its 'high-quality work product', 'strong technical knowledge' and 'proactive and solution-oriented approach'. Roberto Vianna do Rego Barros ('one of the most knowledgeable partners in Brazil on financial regulation') and newly-promoted partner Jorge Luiz Gallo ('a younger partner with a broad range of experience') co-lead a 'responsive and creative' team which can draw on the wider firm's supplementary expertise in corporate, tax, real estate and infrastructure matters. Recent highlights included advising Rioprevidência - Fundo Único de Previdência Social do Estado do Rio de Janeiro on a $2bn securitisation of oil royalties, together with BB Investimentos and BNP Paribas. Other representative clients include China Construction Bank International, Deutsche Bank - Banco Alemão and Camargo Corrêa.
Over the past year, Dias Carneiro Advogados' 'very business-oriented and friendly team' made a particularly strong showing in the agribusiness and energy sectors — for both lenders and borrowers. Highlights included advising Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Investment Corporation and the China Co-Financing Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean on a $55m loan to Vale do Paraná Álcool e Açúcar to finance the expansion and renewal of sugarcane plantations. On the borrower side, it assisted Biosev with its R$3.6bn global debt refinancing, which involved 11 domestic and foreign financial institutions. Department head Thiago Vallandro Flores 'understands the commercial as well as legal drivers', while increasingly prominent project finance specialist Paulo Leme is a 'very skilled banking lawyer, with deep market knowledge'.
Lefosse Advogados' 'responsive and hard-working team' finds favour for its 'strong experience in the financial and capital markets', its 'pro-business and diligent handling of transactions' and its ‘great negotiation skills'. In particular, high-profile figure Renata Cardoso, who is equally adept in transactional and regulatory matters, is valued for her ability to 'always add insights and suggestions that prove useful and effective'. Other key contacts include Roberto Zarour ('a great problem-solver with a technical mind') and capital markets specialist Ricardo Prado. Among the group's recent transactions, it advised Banco do Brasil on the R$4bn debt restructuring of Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional and its subsidiaries. Other key clients include Petrobras, Banco Máxima and Citibank.
Levy & Salomão
Levy & Salomão enjoys a strong profile in the market due to its prominent regulatory practice, which routinely represents financial institutions, fintech players and other traditional and alternative lenders. The group also packs a punch in transactional matters, demonstrating deep experience in project finance, debt restructuring and structured finance. Among the senior names to note, Eduardo Salomão Neto is highly sought after by financial institutions for his specialist regulatory expertise, while Luiz Roberto de Assis specialises in international lending and finance transactions.
Vidigal Neto Advogados
The capital markets and banking team at Perlman Vidigal Godoy Advogados handled a string of structured finance transactions over the past year. The group is also well known for its solid track record in the investment funds, capital markets and regulatory areas. Among its recent highlights, department head Rubens de Camargo Vidigal Neto advised Banco Itaú BBA on investment fund Direitos Creditórios LF I’s offering of senior shares and mezzanine shares; he also acted for Brazilian investment advisor XP Investimentos on structuring Geru Companhia Securitizadora de Créditos Financeiros' R$300m public offering of debentures. Corporate finance partner Marcelo Perlman is also a key contact.
Due to its international set-up, Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown can 'liaise and conduct matters with foreign offices in an effective and diligent manner'. The group, which sources hail as being 'guided by great leaders, who set a perfect example of technical and negotiation skills', also impresses with its 'marked business approach to legal issues'. Energy-related deals are a strong suit and department head Eduardo Lima ('an experienced partner and skilled negotiator') advised GE Energy Financial Services on a $120m standby guarantee-and-credit facility for CELSEPAR, the sole shareholder of CELSE – Centrais Elétricas de Sergipe, as a complementary source of financing for the development of a gas-fired, combined-cycle thermal power plant. Other recommended names include counsel Priscilla Santos ('constantly demonstrates superior technical knowledge') and project finance specialist Luis Montes.
At Cascione Pulino Boulos Advogados, lawyers are commended for their 'practical and fast service' and for providing 'straight-to-the-point advice'. A solid performer in syndicated loans and project finance, the group also handles regulatory matters, with specialist expertise in payments and foreign exchange regulation. Highlights included advising Caixa Econômica Federal on Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional's headline debt restructuring — Fábio de Souza Aranha Cascione led that work. On the regulatory front, Marcos Vinicius Pulino provides ongoing advice to HSBC Brasil Banco de Investimento on banking regulation and corporate governance matters. Marcelo Padua Lima is also recommended and, together with Cascione, advised Google Brasil Pagamentos on a range of issues, including payments and foreign-exchange regulations. Other key clients include Banco Votorantim, Scania Banco and Uber.
The 'very experienced and hard-working team' at KLA Advogados provides a 'highly personalised service', according to sources. The group, which is also lauded as 'incredibly responsive', acts for a relatively even split of lenders and borrowers, with restructuring transactions standing out as a sweet spot. Among its highlights, the firm assisted Imovelweb on the restructuring of all inter-company loans contracted by the company and other companies of the group. On the regulatory side, it advised Banco Brasil Plural on the regulatory aspects of foreign-exchange transactions. The firm has also recently undertaken work for Boart Longyear, Cred-System and Standard Bank. Ricardo Higashitani, who has 'extensive and impressive legal knowledge', and Fernanda Levy co-head the department.
Lobo de Rizzo Advogados is well versed across a broad spread of banking and finance matters, with solid skill-sets in structured finance, project finance, syndicated lending, import and export financing and debt capital markets. Infrastructure specialist Fabrizio de Oliveira Sasdelli -who brings to bear a robust record in structured transactions- recently advised several banks on the local aspects of Ascenty Data Centers e Telecomunicações' $350m fundraising transaction; he also advised Banco do Brasil on the high-profile debt restructuring of Biosev and Biosev Bioenergia. Milton Pinatti, who co-leads the group alongside Sasdelli, advised Travessia Securitizadora de Créditos Financeiros II on a R$100m financial securisation of receivables.
'Responsive, commercial and professional', Santos Neto Advogados sets itself apart through its 'strong experience in cross-border trade finance'. In line with the wider firm's reputation as a 'leading Brazilian law practice in the field of agribusiness', the team also shines in agribusiness-related deals. One recent mandate saw it advise ING Bank as lead arranger on a $798.5m syndicated loan to Biosev. It also acted as local counsel to Crédit Agricole Corporate Investment Bank, as lead arranger, on a $325m syndicated loan to CHS Agronegócio Indústria e Comércio. Key names include founding partner Domicio dos Santos Neto, who provides 'first-class legal service', and Gabriel Buscarini Leutewiler, who is 'very knowledgeable and available'.
In a major coup, in 2019 Trench Rossi Watanabe bolstered its banking and finance practice with the hire of corporate finance partner Daniel Facó from Cescon, Barrieu, Flesch & Barreto Advogados. He joins a broad group, which routinely advises local and international banks, as well as corporate borrowers and issuers, on transactional and regulatory matters — key clients include Banco Bradesco, Banco do Brasil and BRK Ambiental. The firm had a busy year on the debt capital markets side, which included Helen Naves advising seasoned issuer Natura Cosméticos on its R$1.4bn public offering of debentures. Naves also paired up with Luís Ambrósio to advise Votorantim on its R$550m debenture offering. Other key partners include Carolina Secches and José Augusto Martins. Since publication, Naves has moved to Demarest Advogados, effective February 2020.