Brazilian firm Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira & Agel (SVMFA) – which recently stepped away from its five-year-long alliance with a compatriot firm – has struck up a partnership with Portuguese firm MC&A that will target businesses operating in Brazil, Portugal and West Africa.

The combined firm will use a verein structure and will eventually be called MC Valois Miranda. Both firms will keep their original names for the time being, due to their recognition in their respective markets. They will “gradually” substitute their names for MC Valois Miranda, says MC&A partner Vitor Marques da Cruz.

“This alliance will be able to foster new working opportunities, it will give us an international approach and we are very glad about that,” says SVMFA partner Rogério Miranda. MC&A has offices across Portuguese-speaking West Africa, in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and Guinea-Bissau. “The idea is to combine a Brazilian and European approach with local expertise in West Africa,” says Paulo Valois, also partner at the Brazilian firm.

MC&A has operated in association with global law firm Dentons since 2012. Its Angola and Mozambique offices are representative offices of the global firm.

It is not clear what MC&A’s tie up with SVMFA could mean for the Brazilian firm’s relationship with Dentons. The global firm does not have a representative office in Brazil – but it has made its commitment to expanding in Latin America clear in recent years, through mergers with local firms in Central America,Mexico and Colombia.

SVMFA is focused on natural resources and infrastructure, while MC&A also has banking, real estate, labour, litigation and administrative practices. The merged firm will target natural resources and infrastructure, where they share clients.

Valois says his firm and MC&A have cooperated on a loose, informal basis on deals for more than a decade. “We are very glad we are launching MC Valois Miranda,” says Valois, adding that his clients have backed the merger. “An important feature of our conversations with clients was that this alliance is the first that will cover Brazil, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa. There are loose relations between firms there already but there’s no verein structure covering the area,” he says.

Valois says his firm’s alliance with MC&A is not connected to the disbandment of L O Baptista, Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira, Agel, which was announced last week. “The fact that we personally met many years ago, meant that over the years we have been discussing new opportunities to work together,” says Valois. “So this came about very naturally and was a natural extension of our practices.”

Latin Lawyer, 16/12/2016

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