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Luís Branco heads Morais Leitão’s project finance team, which comprises two partners and 12 associates. Fernanda Martins Matias joined the practice as an associate in January 2006, as a result of Morais Leitão’s merger with leading Oporto firm Osório de Castro Verde Pinho Vieira Peres Lobo Xavier e Associados. Morais Leitão’s reach and expertise spans a number of sectors, making the firm “a great choice for advise no matter what the project”. This reputation – gained in particular for its tendency to advise the financiers of large, complex projects – has been borne out by the firm’s standout deals of the past year, all of which featured the guiding hand of the “excellent” Branco. In the construction sector, the firm acted for Banco Comercial Português and Banco Espírito Santo on the restructuring on the €123 million project financing package granted in relation to the José Alvalade stadium (home of Sporting Lisbon, one of Portugal’s biggest football clubs), and in September 2005 advised Banco Espírito Santo on its €42 million financing of the Estação Viana shopping centre, in relation to which the firm created an innovative structure for mortgage surface rights and a public domain concession. Energy sector mandates, meanwhile, included acting for Caixa Banco de Investimento (CBI) in relation to the Tagus project, on which CBI provided € 36.2 million-worth of financing to the concessionaire for natural gas distribution in the Tagus Valley, and – in an appearance on the other side of the negotiating table – guiding Enernova (EDP’s renewable energy subsidiary) through its wind farm project, Enernova’s first foray into project finance. And in a noteworthy infrastructure matter, Morais Leitão advised the financing banks on the entire renegotiation of the Lisbon area railway concession, a three-year project that reached conclusion in June 2005 and comprised highly complex negotiations between Fertagus (the railway company) and the government.
João Soares da Silva runs Morais Leitão’s “fantastic” M&A practice, which comprises nine partners and 28 associates following the firm’s integration in January 2006 with Oporto corporate heavyweight Osório de Castro Verde Pinho Vieira Peres Lobo Xavier e Associados. Among other obvious advantages (giving Morais Leitão access to key clients in northern Portugal, for example), the merger meant that “outstanding M&A lawyer” Carlos Osório de Castro is now a member of Morais Leitão’s M&A department, adding serious expertise to an already excellent team. As well as Osório de Castro, one partner (Eduardo Verde Pinho) and five associates joined the M&A department from the Oporto firm. Morais Leitão notched up another impressive deal tally over the past year. Soares da Silva was especially busy at the end of 2005, leading teams advising Millennium BCP on two deals that closed in December. The first saw the team advise Millennium BCP on its negotiation with several bidders for the sale of a 100% stake in the shareholding of a Macao banking and insurance group for €176.5 million. And in the second, the team acted on the sale of a 50% shareholding of a Portuguese bank focused on car financing business, involving the negotiation of the restructuring of the joint venture set up to handle the fleet rental and management services business. The busy period continued into 2006. In January, Nuno Galvão Teles acted for EDP, Portugal’s largest electricity company, on the €1.6 billion sale of its shareholding in Galp Energia to Américo Amorim Group, as well as on EDP and REN’s simultaneous shareholders’ agreement in relation to Galp Energia, in which they set out the rules that would apply to the relations between shareholders and the terms and conditions of the put options for REN’s shareholding in Galp Energia. At the time of writing, Carlos Osório de Castro and Paulo Rendeiro were acting for Sonae Sierra, one of the largest European companies in the shopping and leisure centre sector, on the sale of 50% of its stake in Rio Sul Shopping and Serra Shopping to a fund managed by Rockspring Investments (London) for an undisclosed amount.
In December 2005, Morais Leitão joined forces with Osório de Castro Verde Pinho Vieira Peres Lobo Xavier & Associados (CPPX), Oporto’s leading law firm. With 30 lawyers, CPPX was among the best-known firms in Oporto with a speciality in corporate and capital markets advice. The firm has now been fully integrated into Morais Leitão, a development that boosts significantly the size of Morais Leitão pratice in Oporto. It will be extremely interesting to chart the firm’s progress over the coming year, especially in its dealings with corporate clients from the Oporto region. Luís Branco heads Morais Leitão’s banking department, which comprises one other partner and 12 associates. The firm has notched up a strong year in the banking sector. It was instructed twice by Banco Comercial Português on key deals – first, on the financing of Controlinveste’s acquisition of Lusomundo for €184.8 million in August 2005, and secondly, in relation to the restructuring of various corporate credit facilities granted to soccer club Sporting Clube de Portugal, worth a total of €100 million. Morais Leitão landed a role on another land mark deal when Eurohypo called upon the firm in May 2005 to advise it on a €26.5 million Islamic financing – the first ever financing effected under an Islamic-compliant structure in Portugal. Among the year’s other banking work. Branco took the helm again to advise a syndicate of international banks (led by BNP Paribas) on a €500 million financing package to Refer, the Portuguese railroad operator, in August 2005.

Advogados

Luís Branco

Leading Lawyer Project Finance
2007

João Soares da Silva

Leading Lawyer Mergers and Acquisitions
2007

Carlos Osório de Castro

Leading Lawyer Mergers and Acquisitions
2007

Nuno Galvão Teles

Leading Lawyer Mergers and Acquisitions
2007

João Soares da Silva

Leading Lawyer Banking
2007

Nuno Galvão Teles

Leading Lawyer Banking
2007

Luís Branco

Leading Lawyer Banking
2007
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