International investors, including private equity funds, driving demand for legal advice in Portugal – ABBC

The financial, real estate and tourism sectors are expected to generate a substantial amount of deals, while venture capitalists eye the startup sector


Private equity funds and other international investors’ appetite for assets in Portugal is creating significant opportunities for the nation’s lawyers, says Nuno Azevedo Neves, founding partner of ABBC in Lisbon.
“Over the last twelve months, the corporate and M&A sector has remained quite active,” he says. “This not only confirms the growth of the previous two years, but the positive outlook for additional foreign investment in the country.” And while the financial sector has seen much of this activity – with shareholdings in some of Portugal’s largest banks being sold, in addition to significant matters concerning their capitalisation needs – other sectors such as real estate and tourism have been extremely active too, according to Azevedo Neves. “With the presence of private equity funds and international investment firms in the Portuguese market, M&A within the financial sector will continue to create excellent opportunities,” he adds. “But I also think the real estate and tourism sectors will continue to generate deals too, with several projects that were ‘on hold’ now able to proceed.”
Azevedo Neves also says there are an increasing number of opportunities relating to venture capital and startups and highlights the significance of Lisbon playing host to the recent Web Summit (the largest tech event of its kind in Europe, this year attended by over 53,000 people). “The Web Summit is a sign of a sector that will continue to attract investors and entrepreneurs to Portugal,” he says. However, in future, such opportunities will put increasing pressure on lawyers to be as efficient, technically innovative and cost-effective as possible. “Clients will expect firms to understand their businesses and to be culturally aware enough to work on multicultural transactions and to assist them in such challenging situations – for them, the ability to have a global reach for such purposes is paramount, while for us [lawyers], the biggest challenge will definitely be how to add value.”