Despite the economic uncertainty affecting the Iberian economy the ability of companies to expand across the Spanish and Portuguese borders continues to present many with new and emerging opportunities, says Serena Argente Escartín at Raposo Bernardo & Abogados a Portuguese law firm uniquely in Madrid.
“For certain companies the current economic crisis may in fact present new business opportunities and the ability to ‘go shopping’ across Iberia. The anticipation is that some of Spain and Portugal’s best prepared companies may now benefit from emerging opportunities to consolidate their internationalisation strategies.”
From the firm’s unique Lisbon-Madrid view, the flow of investment between the two countries has not yet been badly affected, she says. Both Portuguese and Spanish companies continue to view each others’ markets as presenting either a first international step, or at least a step into the known.
“While concerns continue around traditional sectors such as construction and banking there are nonetheless sectors of the Iberian economy for which the current situation creates an obligation for investment.”
Among them is the renewable energy sector, she believes. “The environmental sensitivity of governments is increasingly reflected in legislation imposing obligations on companies’ operations, but at the same time the emphasis on sustainability also offers opportunities to many who regard it as a safe and potentially profitable area of investment.”
Another area of growing activity, says Argente Escartín, is the utilisation of Spain as a channel for Portuguese companies’ international operations. “Spanish tax rules have helped establish it as an ideal place for the establishment of platforms for international business development, and it is increasingly important for investors from Africa and South America.”
The firm she says, is seeing a dramatic upturn also in law firms, in Spain, Portugal and Africa interested in client opportunities across the peninsula. ”The support of legal advice of the highest quality is essential in the current circumstances, both in the design of operations, as well as in exploring the possibilities of financing and other business details.”